Thursday, March 24, 2011

Trader Joe's Original Hummus

Last year I posted a blog on "My favorites at Trader Joe's." Among one of my favorite items at the store is their Original Hummus. I tell all my clients that this is the creamiest and most delicious hummus I have ever tasted, which is surprising since it is "original" flavor (I  normally like exotic things, but in this case I prefer the regular!).

Hummus is made from chickpeas and usually contains tahini, which is a sesame paste. Other typical ingredients in hummus include olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. To get other flavors, manufacturers often blend in other vegetables (artichokes, red peppers, etc) and spices (curry, chilis, etc.).

Normally I recommend making things yourself instead of buying them pre-made. I do enjoy making my own hummus, however, I have found that I am unable to get the delicious and creamy texture that is found in Trader Joe's Original. My hummus usually ends up somewhat gritty and it's just not the same.

Personally, I enjoy hummus with both raw vegetables and baked carrots (carrots are like sweet potatoes- delicious when baked/roasted). Hummus can also be used as a sandwich spread, mixed into pasta dishes or other meals to give a creamier texture, and is a much healthier alternative as a party dip compared to the cream-cheese laden spinach & artichoke, buffalo chicken, french onion, crab, and other artery-clogging dips.

The nutritional content of hummus varies depending on how it is prepared. In general, it can range from 50-120 calories for 2 tbsp (depending on the amount of oil & tahini in it), 1-5 grams of protein (depending on the chickpea content), and usually clocks in at 1-2 grams of fiber (depending on chickpea and vegetable content).

Currently, Trader Joe's Original Hummus costs $2.99 for a container, but it is well worth it (and is still cheaper than you will find in a grocery store). I finally took a picture of it (see above) so my clients, and now you, know exactly which product I am talking about (TJ's has about 20 different types of hummus, in different containers, "organic"/non-organic, and other original flavors so it is easy to buy the wrong one).

Fun Fact: Trader Joe's Original Hummus used to be labeled as having 50 calories and 3 grams of fat. This year they changed it to 80 calories and 5 grams of fat. I don't think the recipe has changed, I think they just had the nutrients re-evaluated. I always rememberd thinking that it was wayy to creamy and delicious to only have 50 kcals and 3 grams of fat. Lesson: never eat a lot of something just b/c the label shows it is healthy (similar lesson was learned with Pirates Booty which people woofed down, only to find that the label underestimated fat & calories, whooops!).

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